Mayor’s Message for April
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States, and Enumclaw is taking part in this important month of awareness, education, and prevention. The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. By working together and pooling our resources during the month of April, we can highlight sexual violence as a major public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.
Sexual abuse affects many in our community, both adults and children. Over 6,600 adults and children in King County have sought services from accredited sexual assault resource centers. Sexual assault is a vastly underreported crime for a number of reasons: survivors often feel they won’t be believed or that nothing will be done to hold their perpetrator accountable.
But we’ve recently reached an important turning point in our culture, fueled by engagement in the #MeToo
movement on social media. It’s an opportunity to redouble our efforts as individuals, as a community, and as
a society to reject sexual violence in all forms.
A disturbing fact about sexual assault is that it is a major cause of youth homelessness, with more than 40% impacted by this violence before they become homeless. Untreated, youth are more likely to remain homeless and are at greater risk of additional sexual assault or exploitation on the streets. Prevention, as well as what techniques and behaviors an adult should be aware, can be viewed at http://www.kcsarc.org/sexoffenders.
Help is available for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or needs information. The nonprofit King
County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) operates a 24-hour Resource Line, at 1-888-99-VOICE,
and offers a wealth of resources to help prevent and end sexual violence on its website at, www.kcsarc.org.
KCSARC also provides free, confidential services for victims of sexual assault and their families in the Spanish-speaking community. The Dando Voz (Giving Voice) program offers all of KCSARC’s current services for victims of sexual assault in Spanish, including general advocacy, child advocacy, legal advocacy, medical advocacy, parent education and therapy. If you have a need to receive information in Spanish, please call 425-282-0332, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many other national organizations that discuss ways to prevent sexual abuse as well as prevention of child sexual abuse. I encourage everyone, parents and guardians to check out these sites for important information. Having the knowledge and discussing with children about the information from some of these prevention organizations could be key in keeping them safe. It is important to recognize the signs of sexual assault in all areas of interaction, whether in schools, home or business.